The most beautiful religious heritage
Visit the churches and monasteries of the Vipava Valley.
Bell towers are one of the region’s most identifiable characteristics, as there is hardly a village in the whole Vipava Valley that doesn’t have its own church, and many other churches were built outside the limits of current towns and settlements. The religious architecture here is fascinating, as the treasures hidden in the votive art are revealed as you explore the interiors of the countless churches and monasteries.
You can begin your tour of the most beautiful art in the Vipava Valley in the village of Vrhopolje pri Vipavi, where you will be captivated by the church of St. Primus and Felician, as well as the impressive mosaic laid by the famous Slovenian Jesuit friar Marko Ivan Rupnik, founder and artistic director of the famous Rome-based Centro Aletti Atelier. The nearby pilgrimage church of Our Lady of Consolation in Log, along the regional road from Vipava to Ajdovščina, is also a bit of history worth investigating, as it was first mentioned already back in 1430. Continuing on a few kilometers to Ajdovščina, there are two more churches that you can visit. The church of John the Baptist has one of the oldest and most well-known depictions of the Stations of the Cross in all of Slovenia, made by local Anton Cebej. Šturje, on the left bank of the Hubelj River, is home to the church of St. George, which contains Langus’ altar painting and ceiling frescoes, as well as the Stations of the Cross by Tone Kralj. The works of Tone Kralj also adorn several other churches in the Vipava Valley.
Take a short break in the old town center of Ajdovščina, where there are plenty of cafes and bars to choose from. Continue on to the beautiful town of Vipavski Križ, a walled town built in the middle ages. Here you will find the Capuchin monastery where the famous preacher Janez Svetokriški (John Baptist of the Saint Cross) lived. If you have an appointment, the monks will welcome you warmly, showing you their immense library and collection of baroque artwork, including Slovenia’s largest baroque painting: The Glory of the Holy Trinity, from 1688. The interior of the parish church of the Holy Cross is another spectacular example of religious artwork that all visitors to the region must see.
The next stop is on the way toward Nova Gorica, after turning towards Dornberk in the village of Selo. The village of Zalošče has several agritourism farms where you can grab some lunch, and they are all well-known for their premium wines and excellent local delicacies.
You can end your whole-day tour of the Vipava Valley’s religious heritage in Kostanjevica in Nova Gorica, where the Franciscan monastery offers both a tour of the chapel and views of the priceless Škrabec library, along with the famous final resting place of Charles the 10th, last monarch of the Bourbon kings, as well as the Bourbon flower garden, containing fragrant and beautiful roses named after this French dynasty.
We recommend visiting these religious heritage sites with a local guide, as the largest churches require advance notice before visiting.